- Release Date:2002-05-16
- In-universe Date:22 BBY
- Series:Prequel Era
Ten years after the events of the Battle of Naboo, not only has the galaxy undergone significant change, but so have Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padmé Amidala, and Anakin Skywalker as they are thrown together again for the first time since the Trade Federation invasion of Naboo. Anakin has grown into the accomplished Jedi apprentice of Obi-Wan, who himself has transitioned from student to teacher. The two Jedi are assigned to protect Padmé whose life is threatened by a faction of political separatists. As relationships form and powerful forces collide, these heroes face choices that will impact not only their own fates, but the destiny of the Republic.
Attack of the Clones, may not be my favorite of the Star Wars films, but it does have some scenes that really work. As I did with the review for The Phantom Menace, I plan on pointing out many of the strengths of this film, even though it has many weaknesses as well.
The dialogue is easily the weakest part of this film, as with all the prequels. It doesn’t sounds realistic, and it is presented with clipped, staged acting. It isn’t natural at all. This is especially prevalent during the love scenes. They almost make it seem like George Lucas has never been in love like the rest of us. While this is, of course, not true, the scenes still don’t have the naturalness or chemistry of a real relationship.
The acting is mixed at best. There are some scenes that are just great. These include the scene where Obi-Wan and Anakin are talking while Padme is sleeping. The short exchange between Obi-Wan and Jango Fett is one of the best confrontations in the entire Star Wars saga, saturated with hidden meaning and passive aggressiveness. Hayden Christensen is really not that bad of an actor. The truth is, most of the actors were bad in this film, but many of them have gone on to play very great roles. People give Hayden a bad rep, but it is completely undeserved.
The villains are not very prevalent for most of this film. Attack of the Clones is more of a mystery movie than an action flick. This is part of what makes the majority of the film so great, before the explosive finale. Although the villain isn’t immediately apparent, there is a clear sense of danger lurking just off screen. In fact, The Phantom Menace might have been a better title for this particular installment.
The presentation of the story feels more like a documentary. It shows, but it doesn’t make us feel anything. I think the most we feel is at the end when the Imperial March starts playing for the first time. Speaking of which, the music from John Williams is just as superb as ever. The love theme between Anakin and Padme is particularly good. However, due to a rushed post-production, this is the first of the Star Wars films to recycle past music. So that’s a bit of a bummer.
The droids are much less comical and much more fearsome in this film. This makes it all the more suspenseful and believable in the final battle where many of the Jedi meet their end.
The most enjoyable part of the film, for most, is the explosive end battle. This is easily the largest battle in all of the Star Wars films. It also gives many fans the chance to see something they have been waiting for for a long time, seeing hundreds of Jedi in action.
The special effects were overused in this film. There are many scenes that could easily be shot completely on camera, but are instead just a single actor interacting with stuff that isn’t there. For example, not a single real suit of armor was created for the Clones. This makes the entire film come off as fake or cartoonish. Of all the faults of this film, this is by far the worst. The overload of CGI makes the entire world too busy, and just doesn’t seem real.
But apart from these flaws, the film really isn’t that bad. On my most recent viewing, I enjoyed it more than I ever had. It could have been a lot worse. The story flows well and it isn’t confusing. As long as you can look past the bad effects, bad dialogue, and mixed acting, you’ll probably enjoy yourself.